Outlook spoke to two Muslim leaders, M.H. Jawahirullah, MLA, of the Tamil Nadu Muslim Munnetra Kazhagam (TMMK) and A.K. Mohhammad Hanifa, coordinator of the Federation of Islamic Organisations and Political Parties in Tamil Nadu, who were among those to have met with Kamalahaasan and the state’s home secretary R. Rajagopal in backroom parleys to discern specific instances from the film that had caused the controversy and the changes were finally promised to smooth things over.
Roadblocks A protest in Madurai
What follows is a listing of the edits sought by the protestors against those actually made by Raaj Kamal Films International to clear the way for Vishwaroopam’s release in Tamil Nadu:
Cut made: Muted Quranic verses
Cut made: Muted the words “Tamil Nadula” and “Coimbatore, Madurai”
Cut made: Muted the words “Tamil Pesura Jehadi”
Cut made: Muted the words “Allah Ho Akbar” in one instance
Cut made: Visual distortion of the banner in the backdrop
Cut made: Muted euphoric words
Apart from these modifications, Jawahirullah says, the film will now carry a disclaimer stating explicitly that it is a work of fiction and not intended to hurt the sentiments of the members of any religious community. When asked whether this confrontation could have been pre-empted had the film carried such a disclaimer from the get-go, he replies that all filmmakers have a social responsibility. “And more so in a state where cinema is so powerful, so much so that the industry has produced five chief ministers. People here have confessed to committing crimes after being inspired by films. Without these changes, Vishwaroopam would have made it seem as though the Quran is a textbook in the hands of terrorists and the namaz a motivation for terrorist attacks.”
It has also emerged that the Muslim groups wanted more changes, including the deletion of all scenes where terrorists are reading the namaz, especially one where a Nigerian terrorist is shown readying himself for martyrdom and praying before he attempts to explode a nuclear bomb in New York (they had no problem with Kashmiri reciting the namaz when he is faced with the threat of a nuclear explosion). However, Kamalahaasan managed to strike a compromise after offering the changes listed above, arguing that further changes entailed high costs and delays.
As to why Muslims in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka or Kerala haven’t taken similar umbrage with the film, Hanifa argues that Tamil Nadu’s Muslims are far better organised. “We expressed our anger collectively and reaped a successful result,” he says.
I followed the controversy over Kamalahaasan’s Vishwaroopam with much unease. It’s incredible that the film got censor clearance in Tamil Nadu only after some forced changes and cuts, a result of threats from Muslim bodies in Tamil Nadu (The Littered Floor of the Cutting Room, Feb 18). It's also disappointing that Kamalahaasan agreed to the unjustified demands made by these fundamentalists. If the film can run across India without cuts, why not in Tamil Nadu? Kamal was wrong to buckle down, he would have only risen in the esteem of his many fans worldwide if he had not done so. With all the cuts, the film’s now a failure.
V. Edakkazhiyoor, Yaduvaram, Kerala
With reference to the ‘unjustified’ cuts in his film, I just want to ask Kamal if he would have dared to make a movie portraying Tamil Hindus as LTTE supporters who assassinated Rajiv Gandhi. In fact, that would have been more relevant in the Indian context than this 9/11 nonsense.
Nawazish Khan, on e-mail
Thank you to all those who have taken the trouble to read the article and share their thoughts. Out of the arguments made here, there are two that perhaps need answering. So here they go.
1. The first part of the article compares outcomes (relative percentages of population of the religions concerned) irrespective of the process that led to those outcomes - whether immigration, relatively faster population growth or conversions. This was for two reasons. One, to put the figure of 2.3 per cent in "numerical perspective", as the article itself explained. The second reason was that outcomes are ultimately what the crux of debate is about. The rest of the article in any case dealt with process - or conversions in this case, from both a contemporary and historical perspective.
2. Some commenters have tried to cast doubts on the reliability of Census 2001. Those who do this should bear in mind that Census 2001 was conducted by a BJP government. Considering the extreme importance that BJP gives to this issue, it would be reasonable to expect that IF it had perceived a problem with the methodology that was distorting the numbers, it would have fixed it. As the article mentioned, BJP or BJP-supported governments have been in power for 10 of the last 40 years, or about a quarter of the time, and the only reasonable conclusion one can arrive at is that any misreporting of numbers, real or perceived, would be marginal and hence, not of importance.
To all other arguments made, my answer is the following: Please read the article again, with particular focus on the quotations of Vivekananda and Monier Williams, and the history of the missionary efforts in Bengal and their outcome.
8D 73 Ramki sir,
Let me confess first that I deligently ollow ur posts and
do appreciate your libera thinking. You aways stood for
Independent EC,Judiciary and Press. Ok then why not creative freedom?
In Tamilnadu The 100cr invested film's TV rights was understood ha gained
by JAYA tv. But Kamalhasan adventurously tried to release the film
through DTH. The ban came that moment Delhi has nothing to do abt this.
why other states didnt ask Ban?
Creative freedom is paramount like you said abt Hollywood and Bush. Thanks
If a movie causes law and order problems, these eminent personalities aka friends of the ruling party @ delhi will not come and own responsiblity. The fact is there was big organized protest in TN and the CM panicked since she did not want even a 1% chance of repeat of gujarat 2002.
Which brings again to the point - India is a diverse nation, diverse in every sense. Why should one board sitting @ Delhi decide what is right and wrong?
You are telling democratically elected govt is deciding censor board. Fine, then do we allow the govt to decide how Election Commission functions or how judges give judgements?
Just notice that in last 65 years,one dynaty has ruled us for over 50 years but why is that we have very few movies made about the dark deeds of this family/dyansty?
In US, hollywood is bold and makes movies critical of bush right when he was president .
That is why, Censor board should operate independent of executive just like judiciary and EC. And friends of sonia madame like sharmila tagore should not be seated there. These boards are not post retirement clubs for some feudal elite.
6 D 119 thanku Ramki for response. Censor board
members are appointed by Democratically elected Govt
and certain laid down norms are observed. Mostly
eminent pesons from film industry are listed as members.
How can ruling party of Delhi interfere in each and everyfilm
that sensor passes? Ramki tell me why only AIDMK ruled state
banned the release While Karnataka (BJP ruled) and Kerala did not ban??
Marxist and left parties supported KAMAL Why?
VNK Murthi >> Once censor board has cleared the film
that need be the final.
Not necessary. Censor Board is always stuffed with appointees of ruling party @ delhi and there is no need for our country's entertainment to be decided by some political dynasty.
Once censor board has cleared the film
that need be the final. Bowing to the pressure of some group
then after and muting or cutting the film is creating
a bad precedence. Tomarrow another offnded group
may sprung up demanding deleting to a film paased by censor
jury. Art and culture need to be a medium beyond the reachof group
We at Outlookindia.com welcome feedback and your comments, including scathing criticism
1. Scathing, passionate, even angry critiques are welcome, but please do not indulge in abuse and invective. Our Primary concern is to keep the debate civil. We urge our users to try and express their disagreements without being disagreeable. Personal attacks are not welcome. No ad hominem please.
2. Please do not post the same message again and again in the same or different threads
3. Please keep your responses confined to the subject matter of the article you are responding to. Please note that our comments section is not a general free-for-all but for feedback to articles/blogs posted on the site
4. Our endeavour is to keep these forums unmoderated and unexpurgated. But if any of the above three conditions are violated, we reserve the right to delete any comment that we deem objectionable and also to withdraw posting privileges from the abuser. Please also note that hate-speech is punishable by law and in extreme circumstances, we may be forced to take legal action by tracing the IP addresses of the poster.
5. If someone is being abusive or personal, or generally being a troll or a flame-baiter, please do not descend to their level. The best response to such posters is to ignore them and send us a message at Mail AT outlookindia DOT com with the subject header COMPLAINT
6. Please do not copy and paste copyrighted material. If you do think that an article elsewhere has relevance to the point you wish to make, please only quote what is considered fair-use and provide a link to the article under question.
7. There is no particular outlookindia.com line on any subject. The views expressed in our opinion section are those of the author concerned and not that of all of outlookindia.com or all its authors.
8. Please also note that you are solely responsible for the comments posted by you on the site. The comments could be deleted or edited entirely at our discretion if we find them objectionable. However, the mere fact of their existence on our site does not mean that we necessarily approve of their contents. In short, the onus of responsibility for the comments remains solely with the authors thereof. Outlookindia.com or any of its group publications, may, however, retains the right to publish any of these comments, with or without editing, in any medium whatsoever. It is therefore in your own interest to be careful before posting.
9.Outlookindia.com is not responsible in any manner whatsoever for how any search engine -- such as Google, Bing etc -- caches or displays these comments. Please note that you are solely responsible for posting these comments and it is a privilege being granted to our registered users which can be withdrawn in case of abuse. To reiterate:
a. Comments once posted can only be deleted at the discretion of outlookindia.com
b. The comments reflect the views of the authors and not of outlookindia.com
c. outlookindia.com is not responsible in any manner whatsoever for the way search engines cache or display these comments
d. Please therefore take due caution before you post any comments as your words could potentially be used against you
10. We have an online thread for our comments policy:
You are welcome to post your suggestions here or in case you have a specific issue, to directly email us at Mail AT outlookindia DOT com with the subject header COMPLAINT